“It’s a need in a very strange and unpredictable world.”
That’s what Joe Baker, owner of Alpha Combat Training and Tactics in Scottsburg, said about training women and adolescent females to fight off aggressors and defend themselves in potentially violent situations.
“My focus and goal is to train women and young females to combat off perpetrators, sexual predators and/or be prepared for domestic violence situations,” he said. “I am also focusing on hostile vehicle encounters and child abduction scenarios.”
Baker said he believes young women need to be trained and prepared mentally and physically before entering middle or high school and as they enter college.
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His many years of law enforcement and kickboxing, five years of boxing and multiple fitness and self-defense certifications have allowed Baker to develop a fight fitness program that will help the victim mentally, physically and emotionally overcome the variables that come along with these situations.
Baker said women need to be trained and rewired mentally and physically to know how to combat the endless cycles of domestic violence and become independent once again.
Alpha Combat Training and Tactics was started in 2014 by Baker and his ex-wife.
He plans to have a location opened in Seymour by mid-summer, pending funding and location.
“In Scottsburg, I’ve had the current training facility, Alpha Combat Training and Tactics, for about a year now,” Baker said. “I’m just looking for a building in Seymour right now, and that’s what the holdup is.”
He said it started off with him doing personal training since he has trained people throughout his life. He wanted it to be a unique gym, so he taught women’s cardio boxing.
The women Baker was training at the time wanted a women’s-only trainer because they didn’t feel comfortable around guys.
“I knew from my past experience boxing in the ring that I always got quick results on my body, and it shredded the fat off fast,” Baker said. “I told my ex-wife we’re going to do a women’s cardio boxing class.”
He had about 40 heavy boxing bags in his gym and decided to let each woman be assigned to a heavy bag for a cardio workout and then see what happened.
He said the classes really blew up, and he was running several classes a week and the women loved it. That was his big moneymaker, and then he implemented self-defense for female adolescents and the bullying program.
Baker said he has seen so much in his career and taken so many statements from victims.
“I listened to their stories and what guys would do to them during a sexual assault,” he said. “I also took a lot of bullying reports and how the kids reacted, their demeanor and their character and how it influenced them.”
Baker said he took a totality of all of that, reflected back and decided to take all of his experience and develop a program that will help these women to know how to get tough and survive in case they get in any battery or real-life scenario that’s threatening.
“Guys just like to brawl. They don’t care, and they’re not going to come to a self-defense class, but these women are,” he said. “There are so many reports about women getting beaten up and girls getting into fights at school.”
Baker said a lot of parents have reached out to him asking if he can help their daughter out, like if they have a boyfriend stalking them or are getting harassed by girls at school.
“So I got on the Smalltown Strong forum on Facebook, and that’s when it took off for me,” Baker said. “I train around 30 women from Seymour, a handful from the Columbus area and they’ll travel to me from all over, like Clarksville, Jeffersonville, Corydon, Louisville, Carrollton, Kentucky. It’s crazy.”
Baker said for a lot of girls, it’s not about the physicality of it, but it’s mental, too.
“So I talk to them and teach them how to talk through certain situations and what they need to do to avoid harassment, what steps they need to take with their parents and with law enforcement and social media,” he said. “There are a lot of things that law enforcement just cannot do when it comes to harassment. That’s why you don’t see anybody getting arrested for it. It’s just so common this day and age.”
The new facility in Seymour will be half cardio boxing with the heavy bags.
“When you walk in, it’ll be women’s-only boxing classes, and in the back part of the gym, we’ll have a lot of mats for women’s self-defense classes,” Baker said. “So many days a week, I’ll be doing the women’s cardio boxing, and then the other days of the week, they can mix it up and do weight training and the physical part of it, and we can also do self-defense stuff, so we can kind of mix it up.”
Baker said it’s really simple: If you don’t teach a woman how to fight, doing self-defense is really useless.
He said he’s currently looking for a building with not a lot of overhead with it, and it doesn’t have to be a prime location because his facility in Scottsburg is in the middle of nowhere.
“When I first opened my gym, I had all the money in the bank, so now, I’m kind of starting from scratch and just saving as I go,” Baker said. “I know with a need like this and during these times, any kind of donations would be welcome because I want to do kids’ programs for bullying, too.”
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For information or to make a donation, contact Joe Baker on his Facebook page, facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000830928487, or call 502-595-7738.